Fins’ investment in Grove a gamble



Jake Grove did an admirable job coming back from microfracture knee surgery to reclaim the job as the starting center for the Raiders.

Chances are he couldn’t have imagined all his hard work would pay off so handsomely. According to the NFL Network, Grove signed a a five-year contract with the Miami Dolphins which guarantees him $14.5 million.

There was no chance the Raiders were going to come up with that kind of coin. And considering they have a better idea about his physical issues than Miami, it was the sensible move.

Grove is a smallish (by NFL standards) but tenacious center who will find the going rough against difficult matchups in the AFC East.

The Raiders thought him better than John Wade, the man they signed to be the center when they were rightfully concerned about Grove’s physical condition.

Wade remains under contract with a salary of $1.5 million this season, and the Raiders can go about the business of finding their center of the future.

Fact is, Grove missed 26 of 80 games because of injury since joining the Raiders in 2004 and played in 19 of 32 the past two years.

Cal center Alex Mack is one of the most highly regarded centers in the country, and the Raiders have a wealth of inside information on him courtesy of line coach Jim Michalczik, his position coach in Berkeley.

At No. 7 overall, the Raiders may be picking too soon to take Mack. Another local center, Stanford’s Alex Fletcher, has a background in zone blocking and would be available later.

The NFL Network is also reporting the Raiders are hosting two Seattle free agents, quarterback Charlie Frye and right tackle Ray Willis.

Frye is a lot like Bruce Gradkowski, a player with some NFL starting experience who would vie for a spot on the roster to back up JaMarcus Russell. Willis, 6-foot-6, 315 pounds out of Florida State, saw his most extensive time in 2008, playing in 16 games with 10 starts.

According to the Seattle Seahawks on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the club wants Willis back but expects another team to pay him as a starter.

NFL Network: Pears signed, Fowler to visit

More news from the NFL Network pipeline: The Raiders have signed tackle Erik Pears, a lineman who was not offered a tender from the Denver Broncos and will hope to land a roster spot in Oakland, and will meet with free agent center Melvin Fowler of Buffalo.

Fowler was not re-signed in 2009 after playing in 15 games with five starts. He started 32 games the previous two seasons.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • RaiderRockstar

    The Bills rushing game was horrible – Marshawn did all the work himself. Even with Peters, Dockery and ol Langston on the line, they could not run the ball.


    Peters had a TERRIBLE season. Dockery was cut and we all know how overrated Langston Walker is first hand. I’m not saying he’s dominant, but he’s better than Jake Grove. Lynch did it by himself? Willis McGahee & Fred Jackson had similar success running behind Melvin…

  • Yeah maybe, but that doesn’t mean a team has to accept it Hwnrdr. And it’s not as if Pace or Holt have very many options at this point in their careers anyway.

  • Turducken

    Grove and Fowler are about equal – both should be first-off-the-bench backups at LG, C RG. I would rather get some younger guys in here who are hungry.

  • I am hungry Turducken. Lunch time.

  • Turducken

    Fred Jackson is about as relentless as Marion Barber – he does a lot himself too, like Marshawn.


  • RaiderRockstar

    I would rather get some younger guys in here who are hungry.


    I agree in that I’d rather have Mack or Unger, but I wouldn’t be upset with Fowler, Wade & Morris competing at Center. we only have so many draft picks

  • hwnrdr

    I agree Terry. Well, I guess…when is the deadline for Walkers contract? Hopefully he does accept a reduced contract and stays for a lot less. But, Al screwed the pooch on that one. Note to self: If someone wants to give me back all of his money and retire…ummm….TAKE IT BACK!!!

  • S&B (Raji @ 7 because run d is 31st)

    Its good to see the Raiders try to get some O-Line help. Looks like they are going to sign someone to man the RT position. I would still like the Raiders to address the RT and C positions in the draft namely:

    Round 2 – Max Unger C, Oregon

    Round 3 – Troy Kropog RT, Tulane or Trevor Canfeld RG, Cincy – Depends on whether Cooper Carlisle comes back

    Slide McQuistan to RG and the O-Line should be good to go. Add some free agents for depth and competition is fine as well.

    Of course the Raiders could be going with McQuistan at RT and looking at this Wills guy as a starting RG. Then Cornell Green stays, restructured of course, for depth purposes.

  • RaiderRockstar

    yeah Turducken, the Bills didn’t need a Center the past 3 years …

    Justin Fargas, Darren McFadden & Michael Bush don’t either. Right? they can do it by themselves!

  • Turducken

    RRS- I’m just sayin is all. Fowler aint the answer. We have a long history of quality centers and we need one that can dominate for the next 7+ years.

  • im brian fellows

    Isnt javon Walker due like 5,0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000unless he gets the ax or renegotiates his contract today

  • JHill

    If we sign Fowler, I’d have to think it would be for a long term deal. I don’t think we would draft a C and sign Fowler with Wade and Morris on the roster. Wade and Morris are adequate backups, so I see no sense in upgrading a backup position.

  • S&B (Raji @ 7 because run d is 31st)

    Also with Kropog, for those who want more competition for Henderson, you can have Kropog / Henderson compete for LT and move the loser over to RT.

    Good size with a large frame…Great athleticism…Very light on his feet…Quick and agile…Excellent pass protector…Smart with good awareness…Good mobility to get to the second level and pull…Moves well laterally…Natural knee bender…Technically sound…Uses his hands well…Nice balance…Outstanding work ethic…Tough…Has a fire in his belly…Lots of experience…A team leader…Still has some upside.

    Has done a good job of bulking up but could stand to add a little more weight…Needs to strengthen both his upper and lower body…Is not very powerful…Doesn’t get a great push in the run game…Might not be a perfect fit for every team…Has a history of minor shoulder injuries.

  • S&B (Raji @ 7 because run d is 31st)

    JHill Says:
    March 3rd, 2009 at 12:19 pm
    If we sign Fowler, I’d have to think it would be for a long term deal. I don’t think we would draft a C and sign Fowler with Wade and Morris on the roster. Wade and Morris are adequate backups, so I see no sense in upgrading a backup position.
    You are probably right. Depends on the size of the contract. I would rather see a Max Unger or Alex Mack in there though. The Bills have a need for a Center and they let this guy go. Might be the equivalent of Jake Grove for the Raiders.

  • RaiderRockstar

    he gets the ax or renegotiates his contract today


    thats what Paul Wexler said. he’s a tool though

  • its_boneless

    Just an observation. I don’t believe that the bills run the ZB scheme. If they do then the rest of this post is mute. Denver for years had one of the better rushing attacks in the NFL with smaller quicker linemen. Have no idea how agile Fowler is but I would trust Cable and the new coach from Cal to be able to judge if the player is a good fit for our system.

  • hwnrdr

    I hope he restructures than gets cut!!!

  • lefty12

    RR-with this year being one of the best and deepest years in the draft for C we have to get one.wade,morris and anyone else we bring in (FA) could fight it out for backup or play while whoever we draft gets up to speed.

  • JHill

    Assuming we do sign this Willis and Fowler, that’s two more positions scratched off for high draft picks.

    Sorry guys, but I smell WR at #7. We really only have JLH, Schillens, and Shields on the roster. None of these guys were ever as highly regarded as Crabtree or DHB, so adding either one of them to the mix can not be a bad thing.

  • RaiderRockstar

    The Bills have a need for a Center and they let this guy go.


    Thats not true. The Bills signed Geoff Hangartner

  • S&B (Raji @ 7 because run d is 31st)

    Javon Walker is not going anywhere. He represents the Apex of Raider mistakes and bad judgement last year.

    I didn’t like the signing at the time and the contract given to Walker is crippling this team. Raiders could have signed T.J Houshminzadeh if they didn’t give all that money to a guy that was RELEASED by his former team. RELEASED! What was Davis thinking on this pick?

    They paid him $12M last yr and owe him another $9M this year. Unbelievable. Really! And if they cut him he ADDS another $5M against the cap!

    What was Davis thinking?

  • inonewordraider

    Doesn’t seem likely that if we sign a couple Olineman during FA period that we’ll go OL in round #1. Does Cincy take Crabtree at #6? If so do we go Rey?

  • JHill

    The Bills have a need for a Center and they let this guy go. Might be the equivalent of Jake Grove for the Raiders.


    We wanted Grove back, just not at that ridiculous price. Maybe it’s the same with Fowler in Buffalo in that he wants more than he’s worth. And I’m sure the Grove signing makes him want even more from Buffalo, I’m sure.

  • Dakota


    Where do you get your o-linemen stats regarding sacks allowed?

  • RaiderRockstar

    Assuming we do sign this Willis and Fowler, that’s two more positions scratched off for high draft picks.

    Sorry guys, but I smell WR at #7.


    I agree. not to mention Pears for depth and competition. I knew offense would be priority this offseason. Davis wants a playmaker. Crabtree will be that guy

  • Jhill,
    I don’t know that we can “scratch-off” two positions with these potential middle-of-the road FA signings. It could also be argued that the Raiders complete disregard of the WR position during free-agency indicates that they are satisfied with who they have currently (of course this is all subject to change)

  • RaiderRockstar



    go to the team, click on the player

    of course all the free agents are listed under “transactions”

  • Dakota

    SCREW REY!!!!!! HE CAN’T RUN!!!!

  • Dakota

    Thanks for the link Rockstar.

  • lefty12

    Jhill-for once we don’t see eye to eye.while i agree it looks likely a WR(Crabtree) could be the top pick,signing theses OL does not mean we won’t take an OL,maybe even at #7.what it shows is our brass isn’t satisfied with what we have.and don’t forget DE.

  • Turducken

    Besides Center, who is gonna be our RG?

    Anyone know the dilly with Carlisle. He re-sign yet?

  • hwnrdr Says:
    March 3rd, 2009 at 12:24 pm
    I hope he restructures than gets cut!!!

    hell yeah baby!!!

  • darkknight01

    Dakota Says:
    March 3rd, 2009 at 10:35 am
    Raiders | Willis visiting
    Tue, 03 Mar 2009 09:15:34 -0800

    Adam Schefter, of NFL.com, reports free-agent OT Ray Willis (Seahawks) is visiting the Oakland Raiders Tuesday, March 3.


    okay, this may change things for the draft…

    Lets hope they sign the guy and bring him onboard to compete.

  • lefty12

    come on Dakota.we all know you hate anything Pac-10.

  • JHill


    Willis and Fowler were starters last year. Do you really think they would sign FA contracts with us to be backups? Highly unlikely.

    And yeah, you could argue that about the WR position. Just like you could that they like a WR in the draft and feel very strongly that he will be there at 7.

  • lefty12

    just because a guy comes for a visit doesn’t mean he will be offered or sign a contract.

  • Dakota


    I don’t hate the Pac-10…I just hate the thought of picking LBs that can’t cover in the NFL at #7.

    Give me Rey’s run-stopping coupled with Morrison’s pass coverage skills and now we are talking!

  • JHill,

    Willis and Fowler are being let go by their current teams, because they have chosen to go in another direction. I am thinking Willis and Fowler will work for the highest bidder at this point.

    Assuming that our O-line problems will be solved with these two, is the same kind of logic that created our starting line of Harris, Gallery, Grove, Carlisle and Greene. How many of those guys will be around in 09?

    We need TALENT on the line, not mid-level free agents

  • RaiderRockstar


  • to 40 yard dash

    I say we draft the fastest guy out there. If this fellow Rey can’t run the 40 in 4 seconds flat then he can’t play for the greatness of the raidehs…

  • lefty12

    sorry,Dakota,but i have never seen you make a positive comment about any player from the Pac-10.but i admit i don’t read EVERY post on here.


    At face value Willis and Pears sound a lot like a couple guys named Gallery and Henderson. Lots of raw talent but need technique.

    Cable and Co. are just the coaches to get the most out of them.

    A Tackle who has trouble in space or with speed rushers could end up a fine Guard. Pears the next Gallery that Cable moves inside?

    Centers rarely go in the first round. Mack could be there in the 2nd. Unless we get Fowler.

  • News Flash

    The Denver Broncos and the Cleveland Browns come to an agreement for embattled QB Jay Cutler. In return the Broncos get QB Brady Quinn, DT Shaun Rogers and either a 3rd or 4th round draft pick. You heard it here first!

  • EDOG

    MACK in the 2nd! Lets keep a HOMEBOY in town AL!

    Besides is coach will be coaching him again!

    Raji rnd1, Mack rnd2, Hayward-Bey rnd 3

    What do you all think?

  • EDOG

    If Hayward-Bey isnt there, you gotta love Brian Robiski, I think that kid is a real sleeper! He can run a route which our WR’s haven’t been able to do since???? TBrown?

  • the C/G is headed home,empty-handed. News conf.at 4:00

  • Marc

    Live in Cleveland. Charlie Frye sucks big time. No better than a scout qb. Rather have Tui.

  • #24

    With the Raiders looking at Offensive lineman and signing Ricky Brown to $1.5 Mil. You would think their draft need would come down to a WR or DL. That leaves Crabtree and Maclin at WR or Orakpo and Raji as possibilities for the #7 pick with guys like Mack and Unger going in the 2nd and other depth from that point on.

  • darkknight01

    I agree….Robiskie definitely would be another solid 2nd rounder along with Britt or Nicks. His stock has increased.

  • darkknight01

    4evaRaider Says:
    March 3rd, 2009 at 1:01 pm
    the C/G is headed home,empty-handed. News conf.at 4:00

    Praying for the souls of the lost 3 men and their families…..sad….